It’s “Black Friday” but I wonder if the “black” signals “gloom” more than “profit” today. I haven’t ventured to the mall today, but I did visit one cell phone store this afternoon in a very busy shopping area in northern VA and was shocked that we had absolutely NO wait for service. I know there are really good sales out there, but sometimes I wonder if that works like reverse psychology on American consumers. If the stores are THAT desperate to sell you the stuff, how desirable can it be? And how much of a hurry does one have to be in to be sure one gets a good deal this holiday season?
My four kids each seem to know what they want this Christmas, and each seems to want just one or two fairly expensive but very useful gifts–things I would probably buy for them during the course of the year anyway, but the timing is such that it will be good to make them their Christmas gifts. I love that as they get older (the youngest is now 10), their gift requests get more compact, much more “utilitarian,” and require much less Christmas morning assembly. And once you get past the “Santa years” the whole acquisition and execution of the gifts becomes much less complicated and stressful anyway.
If any of you out there are really not in the mood to follow your usual habits of holiday consumerism and yet are still looking for ways to express your love and gratitude to friends and family, I’d like to recommend the Global Giving Foundation. There you can make charitable contributions to specific projects and fund them as gifts to your loved ones. I know there are many other organizations that make charitable gift giving both easy and special; if any of you have your own recommendations, please share.